GamesBeat

Firefox OS needs games: Mozilla is confident it can entice developers by eliminating fragmentation

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A few days ago, Internet-technology company Mozilla introduced Firefox OS. This is the company’s new free mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets based on its Firefox browser.

The OS is moving into a crowded market dominated by Apple and Google — not to mention Blackberry and Microsoft.

One of the things that can help propel a new product like this is video games. We contacted Mozilla to ask how Firefox OS handles games.

A Mozilla spokesperson provided the following statement:

Firefox OS will support all HTML5 apps – including HTML5-based games. Mozilla is unlocking the Web as the platform to build apps powered by open Web standards like HTML5, CSS, and Javascript, along with new Web APIs.

Firefox OS offers many benefits to developers. Developing apps targeting a single platform is not a viable option. Developers who opt to develop apps for Firefox OS benefit from simplicity and freedom.

Developers will no longer need to learn and develop against platform-specific native APIs. Instead, they can develop on a single technology stack (HTML5/CSS/JavaScript/ new WebAPIs) and deliver across all devices running the mobile version of Firefox.

You’re not locked in to a vendor-controlled ecosystem. You can distribute your app through the Firefox Marketplace, your own website, or any other store based on Mozilla’s open app store technology.

Firefox OS only runs HTML5 apps. Android and iOS both support HTML5, but apps tend to run better on those systems if they’re built using the code native to each development environment.

But Mozilla isn’t interested in locking down users with Firefox OS and the Firefox Marketplace. In fact, Android owners can download the mobile version of Firefox right now, head to marketplace.firefox.com, and start downloading the same games that are available on handsets running the new operating system.

Mozilla believes this will empower game creators who just want to produce content for as many people as possible without having to worry about the intricacies of differing operating systems.

“The Web has the power to offer true cross-platform opportunities for content and application developers and helps to avoid developer fragmentation,” that Mozilla spokesperson told GamesBeat. “It allows for simpler distribution of apps, adds resources, and provides developers the opportunity of a direct relationship with their customer.”

I just downloaded Word Wars, a Boggle-like word game, on my Galaxy Nexus, but I didn’t use the Google Play store. Instead, I browsed to the Firefox Marketplace on the mobile version of the Firefox browser. It installed on my device quickly, and Firefox even created a separate icon to launch the app on my homescreen.

I can access this game on my phone, tablet, or PC, but the developer only had to release it once. That’s how Mozilla plans to eliminate fragmentation for developers. We’ll see if it’s enough to entice app creators.


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